OMOJUWA JAPHETH - TO THE NEXT GENERATION FROM MY DEATH BED


We had some of the best brains the nation had ever dreamt or imagined it would have. Like the generation before ours, it was not about our ability though, it was about our sincerity to the purpose of our people. One thing each generation did boast of was a bunch of young, talented and extraordinarily opportune young men and women who had many things in common:


  1. They were mostly selfish: while the brigands took home the national cake in chunks, my generation battled amongst itself for the crumbs of attention that came with activism. They wanted to know who attended the highest number of seminars. It was about who won the most awards. It was about who’d make the most noise on television, radio and eventually the internet when it became a very useful tool of communication. When some of them got into government, they got the crumbs. While you’d expect a generation that kept shouting “it is our turn” to go for real positions, they even started acting like statesmen despite holding kitchen positions, and already assuming they were part of a presidential kitchen cabinet. How else do you think an ordinary office assistant would suddenly think that his selling his generation out on the altar of a mere lowly appointment would suddenly make him look big? That was the problem not just of my generation but that of previous ones before mine. People who shouted enough got into office but only to get positions that should be the reserve of desperate people who just wanted to be in government by any means possible. None of them mattered afterward and this contributed to what befell my generation and of course the country.
  1. They were people of small minds: You would expect that having been exposed to the successes of young people across the world through the advent of live news and the internet, this generation would dream bigger but my generation never did. They did not define success the Mark Zukerberg way, they defined it the “I pass my neighbour way.” Success to them was to get a Masters’ degree abroad, come home speaking English with a fake American accent despite spending time in the UK and mostly messing up the English language while at their macabre dance. They get what they’d term a “well paying” job and buy a small generator. They were always the first to have their generator on after a power cut and would celebrate in church when they bought used cars imported from even places like Benin republic. To them, living the life was seeing poor boys on the road and being able to dish out some N50 feeling “successful.” Their small minds meant that even those of them you’d expect to dream bigger having traveled the world would go on to settle for jobs of assistants. You will blame the generation before theirs where 60 year olds were youth leaders but why blame one generation for the failure of another? Each generation fails by itself for future generations.
  1. They were blind to the Future: My generation never saw tomorrow. They were obsessed about “now!” which then meant, get born, go to school, go to London and America, come back home, buy a car (a house if a bit lucky), marry another small mind, breed new small minds, die as the new small minds continued the cycle that has led to the disaster you are about to set right or perish with. One of them who thought succeeding at 26 was a big deal looked at system that had bred 112 million poor people, a system that had ensured the country stayed underdeveloped despite some N15 trillion of spent resources, a system where failure was rewarded with promotion, a system where the bigger your crimes the bigger the opportunity to do worse crimes as you got rewarded by the bigger criminals, he looked at the orchestrating machine of that system and called it great. That was a reflection of the small mindedness of that generation where poverty had reduced people to desperate walking pieces of matter who at any opportunity to smell wealth lose their way and bow at the altar of evil offering their souls to the gods of destruction and corruption.
  1. None of them was ready to pay the Price: We had many “talkers” in my generation. I was one of them to confess to you. I did not just talk though, I acted. At an event 60 years ago at the once grand Radisson Blu but the same has since changed, someone asked me whether we should die for the country in the course of fighting for our people. I remember my answer clearly “the fight is our fight and we will fight together, but the decision to die or not to die for this country is a personal one. I am available for death if that is my reward for my quest for justice but I cannot preach death to my fellow soldiers.” I did not say more. I meant every word and I acted it. I had my detractors and haters who believed I was doing it all to get an appointment. I laughed whenever I got that. I had too big a mind, too grand a dream to stoop so low to serve a President I was never going to succeed serving. Even if I wanted to serve at the time, the kind of appointments the small minds thought was my inspiration to speak were just what was meant for their likes. The least position of government was one that’d allow me to fail or succeed on my terms not one where the success or failure of some opportunist politician would drown me.
My son, there is more to this letter but you must search through the world to find the complete meaning. Your destiny lies in your hands, the destiny of this nation lies in your heart because you have the mind to build an army that’d salvage her again. You look and you say the battle has been so long but the wars of justice and prosperity, the quest for a better world never ends. Every generation must fight its fight but when you go for your men, avoid the little minds of my generation.

PS: This is the letter I don’t want to write one morning before my death

This is @omojuwa

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